Dr. Jorge J. Castillo, lead author of the study and clinical director of the Waldenström Macroglobulinemia Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, explained to CURE® that BCL2 inhibitors like Venclexta are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for other cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia and acute myeloid leukemia; however, this is the first clinical trial evaluating the drug in patients with WM. He further explained that WM has malignant BCL2 cells that “immortalize” themselves, so “they are not dying when they are supposed to.”

“So what (Venclexta) does in this setting is by blocking the BCL2 in these malignant cells, they essentially induce cell death,” he said. “So being the first clinical trial ever reported with this mechanism of action in patients with (WM), I think is one of the big aspects.”

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